Chromodoris kempfi from Florida

October 11, 1999
From: Anne Dupont

Hi Bill,

I have photographed this nudibranch on our reefs here in Florida over the years.

They are usually found on top of the reef in about 60 feet of water in the algae. The book that I have calls it a purple-crowned sea goddess, Chromodoris kempfi.

I have two questions, (1) Can you identify it and (2) is this mating behavior?
I'm sending you another photo showing 4 of the critters together. I have seen them alone, two together, three together and four together.

Thank you for your time.

Dupont, A., 1999 (Oct 11) Chromodoris kempfi from Florida. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Anne,
Your animals certainly fit the original description of Chromodoris kempfi, which was originally described from northern Brazil. It has been subsequently been recorded from the Caribbean coast of Panama and Florida. I very much doubt that it will remain in the genus Chromodoris when its anatomy is fully investigated as Marcus's original description described multicuspid jaw platelets and a very small radular ribbon which is quite unlike Chromodoris. It is possibly a species of Mexichromis, of which there are a number of species on the east Pacific coast of central America.

The 'trailing' behaviour may be a precursor to mating, but as their genital opening is on the right side they need to be arranged alongside each other, right-side to right-side, for mating to occur. The trailing observation is very interesting because it has previously been observed only in species of Risbecia and one Hypselodoris, Hypselodoris paulinae. If you Search the Forum for trailing you will get a list of messages and photos on the subject.

Thanks again,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Oct 11). Comment on Chromodoris kempfi from Florida by Anne Dupont. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Mexichromis kempfi

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